Bloody cross, empty tomb

I recently found myself in the middle of a very strange conversation with a very educated doctor when the conversation moved to our faith. Of course the most common approach is to assert the viability of every belief, as long as it’s sincere. But after many months of walking with a loved one through illness and the possibility of death, the stakes felt higher. “Everybody believes in something,” he said. “But what is the basis of that belief?” was my question. And then I said it.

My faith is rooted in a bloody cross and an empty tomb.

It was a strong moment. Months later I’m still chewing on the implications of this truth. As we move into resurrection weekend, I’m asking the question afresh: what does this mean?

It means the Judge has judged.

It means sickness is judged by the cross. Bigotry is judged by the cross. War is judged by the cross. Child slavery is judged by the cross. Rape is judged by the cross. Fear is judged by the cross. Oppression is judged by the cross. Sin is judged by the cross. My sin, my pride, my hypocrisy, my deceit, my selfishness are judged on a bloody cross.

It means the King has risen.

It means light beats darkness. It means life beats death. It means justice beats evil. It means cancer is going to bow. It means molestations will be no more. It means poverty is losing its grip. It means racism’s days are numbered.

It means all things will become new.

It means the stories your believing mama told you have to be taken seriously. It means God hears prayers. It means you can break addictions. It means you can be free. It means your family can be restored. It means you are going to make it.

Because if He can beat death, He can beat anything.

It means you’re not defined by your worst mistake. It means you really can be forgiven. It means God’s grace is stronger than your sin. It means God’s goodness trumps your badness. It means God’s capacity to fix you up is infinitely greater than your capacity to screw you up.

It means your story may have horrible chapters, but you have to read it to the end, because when God is the Author, the story always ends well.

It means there is more hope for you than you thought possible, because the very worst this world can throw at you is death. And Jesus beat it. Which means death may take you from this world, but Jesus will take you from death.

Which means you don’t have to be afraid of anything. Ever. Again.

So turn in your pen, stop trying to force your own script, and let Jesus be your Author, resurrection, and life.

Arise.

6 Replies to “Bloody cross, empty tomb”

  1. Are our pastors telling us the truth?

    Are Christian pastors honest with their congregations regarding the evidence for the Resurrection? Is there really a “mountain of evidence” for the Resurrection as our pastors claim or is the belief in the Resurrection based on nothing more than assumptions, second century hearsay, superstitions, and giant leaps of faith?

    You MUST read this Christian pastor’s defense of the Resurrection and a review by one of his former parishioners, a man who lost his faith and is now a nonbeliever primarily due to the lack of good evidence for the Resurrection:

    -A Review of LCMS Pastor John Bombaro’s Defense of the Resurrection-

    (copy and paste this article title into your browser to find and read this fascinating review of the evidence for the Resurrection)

  2. @Michael Koch- if you read closely and are a student of the word, you will find the “sound bites” are sound. Everything is rooted in truth. And God has no problem with us taking his truth and making it into poetry or art. Don’t miss the heart of the message because of your preference on semantics.

    Also, “do not fear” is written 365 times in the Bible.

  3. Oscar Romero wrote, “It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts: it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No sermon says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted knowing they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that affects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.”
    Your blog causes people to ponder the mystery. In that sense, it is as Romero pointed out one piece of the puzzle, a seed. Those that truly seek to encounter our Lord will pursue the longing He sparks and their hearts will echo the psalmist’s, “Give me understanding, ADONAI, so I can follow your law.”

  4. Great devotion and completely biblical. Your critic just is not making sense. The only disclaimer you should have is for those who come with an agenda will look foolish criticizing you. No response needed they are they disprove their criticism themselves. Your devotion was right on with 1 Corinthians 15. Thank you pastor Mike God is using you greatly as you are faithful to his word and His Spirit. Dr. Tim White

  5. “It means your story may have horrible chapters, but you have to read it to the end, because when God is the Author, the story always ends well.”

    I’m quite sure Cain, Pharaoh, Jezebel, nearly every Pharisee Jesus ever encountered, Pontius Pilate, and Judas would disagree with that statement. Come to think of it, Jesus, the one you seemingly esteem, definitely disagrees with it. You can read about the fate of those that don’t submit their lives to Him throughout the Bible…to jump-start you, check out Matthew 11:24 and 26:24.

    “It means there is more hope for you than you thought possible, because the very worst this world can throw at you is death. And Jesus beat it. Which means death may take you from this world, but Jesus will take you from death.”

    I’m not sure who your intended audience is, but so as not to mislead others, your posts really should come with a disclaimer that they are only intended to encourage the true follower and not the religious hypocrite.

    To be clear, for the true follower of the Christ, physical death leads to eternal life. But my concern is for those that know Him not, like many of those (but not all) that attend religious organizations weekly meetings and subscribe to your blog (see Matthew 7:21-23) their death will only lead to eternal torment. See also Jesus’ statement at Matthew 10:28.

    “Which means you don’t have to be afraid of anything. Ever. Again.”

    Sounds encouraging but it’s simply unbiblical and therefore bad advice. See Deuteronomy 6:24, Psalm 31:19, Psalm 112:1, Psalm 115:13, Psalm 128:1-4, Proverbs 10:27, Proverbs 19:23, Luke 1:50, and Revelation 11:18

    Going forward, less sound bites, more scripture please.

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